Cashing in on a Presidential Nod
Can George Bush Do for Curling What JFK Did for Sean Connery?
Feb. 23, 2006: Vol. 2, Issue No. 15
IN THE NEWS
Bush Tries His Hand at Winter Sports
President Bush tried his own version of winter sports this weekend—two bike rides in subfreezing temperatures—after watching some of the Winter Olympics on Air Force One on Friday.
While flying back from Florida, Bush watched part of the U.S. men's curling competition broadcast from the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy.
"We were watching some curling—cheering the U.S. on," White House spokesman Trent Duffy said, recalling the match the U.S. team won by 7-3 over Switzerland. "We had it on for 20 to 30 minutes. The president is a great sports fan."
—Associated Press, Feb. 19, 2006
In the Feb. 14, 2006, edition of this publication I mentioned that my wife, Peggy, was spending the month of February at the Winter Olympics in Torino as team leader of the U.S. Women's Curling Team.
The U.S. women finished next to the bottom of the pack with a record of two wins and seven losses. However, the U.S. men—at 6-3—are in the final four and have a shot at a medal. The medal games take place today (women) and tomorrow (men) on USA, MSNBC or CNBC.
This past Monday, Brian Williams, broadcasting from Torino, ended the NBC Nightly News with a paean to curling, calling it "chess on ice" and proclaiming that the president of the United States watched the U.S. Men's game on Air Force I.
If a marketer can make a direct connection between a product and the president of the United States, the benefits can be huge.
No TV spectator sport exists quite like championship curling. Think shuffleboard on ice, only instead of round discs, the objects of play are 42-pound granite stones. A curling match takes roughly 2-1/2 hours and is a game of complex strategy. What makes it unique for television is that the players are miked, so you can listen in as they privately discuss each shot. It's rather like having a mike inside the NFL huddle or listening in to the coach calling plays in the quarterback's helmet receiver.